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Case Digests

Ahmed v. Ahmed, 261 S.W.3d 190

June 2008



The parties were married in a civil ceremony in November 1999.  In May 2000 they were married under Islamic law and executed a Marriage Contract which included a mahr in the sum of $50,000.00 deferred payment.  The parties divorced and the trial court awarded the wife $50,000.00 as liquidated contract damages, as it construed the mahr to be a valid, binding, and enforceable premarital contract under Texas law.



Whether the mahr agreement should be construed as a premarital contract where the parties entered into a civil wedding ceremony and subsequently signed the mahr agreement.



The appellate court reversed, holding that “because the parties participated in a valid civil wedding ceremony six months before signing the mahr agreement, they were already spouses, not ‘prospective spouses' and their agreement could not have been made ‘in contemplation of marriage.”  Thus, the trial court erred in enforcing the mahr agreement as a premarital agreement. 

In the alternative, wife argued that the mahr agreement should be enforceable as a post-marital agreement.  While the appellate court recognized that the mahr agreement was sufficiently specific in this case so as to be a legally binding contract,  it was unable to conclude whether the mahr agreement could constitute a valid post-marital agreement under Texas law because evidence was lacking to prove other statutory requirements. Specifically, partition and exchange agreements require an intent to convert community property into separate property and the record was devoid of any evidence that the parties intended the mahr agreement to operate in such manner.  Despite its findings, the court remanded the matter and allowed the wife another opportunity to prove an enforceable  marriage contract on grounds other than a premarital agreement.

Court: Court of Appeals of Texas, Houston (14th District)


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